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  SEO Newsletter | Vol 126 | September 25, 2014 This Month's News

Summing Up a Summer of Search Engine Shuffling for SMBs and DIY Marketers

Author: Virginia Nussey

Odds are good that maintenance and promotion of your website fall somewhere in the middle of your skill set, from expert to overseer. Even if you're hands off, it would do you good to know what's new and next in SEO. That way, you can make sure your web presence is capitalizing on opportunities. To that end, you'll find the latest SEO info from the last few months, and the search engine optimization tips it necessitates, in this article that covers:

  • The Google Quality Rating Guidelines, a resource that illuminates Google's quality assurance program for its search results. Here we shed light on new ways to understand how Google determines expertness, authority and trust.
  • Google's abandonment of authorship markup. Author photos and bylines next to search results are gone, and the 35% click-through rate increase those photos seemed to generate. Do you have authorship markup on your site? Find out what to do about authorship markup here.
  • A new minor ranking signal in HTTPS (secure encryption). But before you demand your webmaster secure your entire site, learn the costs and requirements of HTTPS.

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  Back to Basics

Getting Started with Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics

Author: Paula Allen

How well do you understand how your own site is performing? Many website owners know when their online business is up or down, but have only a vague sense of why. But it IS possible to know specifics and have the kind of analytical data you need to make informed decisions that will improve your site’s SEO and marketing strategy. No, it's not science fiction, nor is this a sales pitch. The tools you need are available — for free — from Google.

Ready to stop flying blind through your website decisions? It’s time to install your own personal instrument panel! This article gives you the resources to set up Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics, understand what they’re for, and get started using these powerful free tools.

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Unique SEO Training Opportunity in Europe

Bruce Clay Europe SEO Training

Hot Topic


Google’s Penguin algorithm, a subset of Google's larger ranking algorithm specifically intended to punish sites using links to artificially inflate rankings, will be updated before the end of 2014. The news was announced by John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, in a live video Hangout On Air earlier this month.

Why We Wait for Penguin 3.0

Before the work that webmasters have done to clear their sites of a Penguin penalty can take effect, Google must update its algorithm. The fact that it’s been nearly a year since the last Penguin Update has been cause for uproar, as businesses that cleaned their backlink profiles are left waiting for the update before any improvement in rankings registers.

What to Expect from Penguin 3.0

We have reason to believe this next Penguin Update, called Penguin 3.0, could cause a seismic shift in rankings. Any site's rankings may go up or down, depending on the links Google still sees pointing to your site, link spam reported by webmasters over the last year, expected algorithm changes to enforce stricter linking guidelines, and actions taken by your competitors to address their own sites' link spam.

How to Prepare for Penguin 3.0

To prepare for the coming update, investigate your links to make sure there are no potential problems. A self-audit of your link profile and review of past disavow submissions should be completed ASAP. Note that even if you are not a link spammer, links to your site from non-experts in your topic area are expected to be discounted, if not penalized. We hope that when the next Penguin Update does launch, your web properties benefit from the change.


Education Matters


Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2014 kicks off next week. We've been interviewing some key speakers, six to be exact, to give you a preview of insights to be shared in New York Sept. 30–Oct. 2:

If you're headed to SMX East 2014, stop by and see us at the Bruce Clay, Inc. booth (No. 406 in the Expo Hall). Catch Bruce Clay speaking in one of SMX's most popular sessions, "Ask the Search Engines and SEOs," at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 2. Virginia Nussey and Kristi Kellogg will be liveblogging key conference sessions — get our liveblog schedule here.




Beating out a competing bid from Google, Amazon has purchased Twitch, the popular game-streaming website, for a reported $970 million in cash.

The White House’s chief technology officer, Todd Park, is stepping down, and his replacement is Google X Vice President Megan Smith, who will be the first woman and only the third person to hold the CTO position.

In another Google executive move, David Gehring, former Google head of media partnerships, will head up U.K. newspaper The Guardian’s new U.S. West Coast office. The VentureBeat article observed that this “comes as media companies turn to tech partnerships to bolster business and audience development.”

The photo-sharing service Twitpic has been acquired, saved just days before its scheduled September 25th shutdown due to a legal trademark dispute with Twitter. No official word yet on who the mystery buyer was.

Microsoft has been in realignment mode since Satya Nadella took the helm as CEO in February. The company laid off 2,100 employees this month, and announced plans to cut 2,900 more by July 2015. This follows the July 2014 round of cuts in which 13,000 staff were laid off, mostly from the Nokia acquisition. Microsoft will also lose two long-time board members, David Marquardt and Dina Dublon, by year’s end, to be replaced by the former CFO of Kraft and the CEO of Visa. Three other directors, including Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, stepped down earlier this year.

Google has acquired the Polar app in order to add its talented staff to the design team for Google+, focused on improving the social network’s mobile interface.

Former Qualcomm executive Dennis Kish has been hired to lead Google Fiber, which delivers high-speed Internet service. The company is preparing to expand its service to as many as 34 additional cities/towns in the U.S.




SMX East 2014 comes to New York next week, and we’ll be there! The search marketing conference & expo goes from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. If you're in town on Monday, swing by the Inc Lounge (224 W. 49th St.) at 6 p.m. for the SMX Meet & Greet, sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc. Have a drink on Bruce!

On Sept. 25 and 26, the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit happens in San Francisco.

Chicago will host the Content Jam content marketing conference on Oct. 2.

The ASCEND Digital Marketing Summit will be Oct. 22–24 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the Pacific Northwest, marketers can go to Seattle Interactive October 15-16.

European Internet marketers will converge on Milan, Italy for SMX Milan 2014 November 13-14. A special one-day training on SEO and the SEOToolSet® will be offered on November 12 at the Workshop Bruce Clay, presented by Ale Agostini, managing director of Bruce Clay Europe.

On November 28, marketers at the Swiss E-Commerce Conference in Trafo Baden, Switzerland, can attend an SEO Workshop for E-Commerce given by Bruce Clay Europe’s director, Ale Agostini.




Facebook is working to improve its news feed algorithm. First, they announced factoring the time spent on page and not just the number of clicks, in an effort to better identify quality content versus articles that are nothing more than “click bait.” Second, they aim to boost trending stories.

Twitter updated its Tailored Audiences feature so that advertisers can now create an audience by uploading a list of mobile phone numbers or IDs, in addition to email addresses and Twitter names/IDs. There are also enhanced ad targeting and management options.

The FTC, enforcing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), will require Yelp to pay a $450,000 fine for collecting personal information without a parent’s consent from minors under the age of 13 who registered at the review site.

Free voice calls can now be made through the Google+ Hangouts feature. You can now keep in touch with family and friends in the U.S. or Canada at no cost, or for “really low” rates for international voice calls. Google keeps rolling out enhancements for Google+.

Bruce Clay, Inc. accepted a client's challenge and took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge [video], also agreeing to sponsor the Walk to Defeat ALS in October.


Word on the Wire


Apple released a slew of new products this month, including the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Preorder demand for the new, larger devices has been so strong that the company is struggling to keep up, even while producing 400,000 iPhone 6 and 140,000 6 Plus units each day.

Google rolled out a new SERP feature, a sitelinks search box that can appear right below a search result for sites that have a site search. Brands would be wise to implement markup to maintain some control over where searchers end up.

On August 28, Google announced the end of authorship. First removing author photos from SERPs in June, the search engine no longer even shows authorship bylines in SERPs or processes authorship markup.

Amazon will soon challenge Google AdWords in the paid ads arena. According to WSJ sources, Amazon plans to replace Google’s paid ads on its website with its own Amazon Sponsored Ads. Testing is scheduled to begin later this year.

Amazon purchased the .buy top-level domain for $4.58 million, and the .tech suffix went to Dot Tech LLC for almost $6.8 million at an ICANN auction this month. Google was reportedly among the bidders for both.

Google is apparently launching a new division called Google Y. Falling within Larry Page’s “Google 2.0” vision, it would focus on developing long-term improvements to how airports and cities function, for example.

China’s main search engine, Baidu, unveiled a promo video for Baidu Eye, its version of Google Glass wearables. The announcement did not mention pricing or release dates.

Facebook no longer allows profile users to pay $6.99 and get increased visibility for a post. The company has quietly removed Promoted Posts as an option for profiles. (Pages still can promote posts.)

The Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba made big news this month launching an IPO in the U.S. Raising $25 billion, it was the largest initial public offering in history.

Court records unsealed this month reveal the pressure the NSA can exert on Silicon Valley companies for information, including Google, Facebook, Apple and Yahoo. According to USAToday journalist Jessica Guynn, "Yahoo went to the mat for users" but was forced to comply with the government demands for information anyway. The revelations could hurt U.S. providers' competitiveness in the global market.

Hot Topics





Word on the Wire

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Unique opportunity for SEO Training in Italy and Switzerland in November! Get the details!

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